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Neutrality?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

Why is it that when a pair of headphones has a slight treble emphasis it's still called neutral, but when it has a slight mids or bass emphasis, it's always labelled as colored? Wouldn't all three scenarios represent headphones that are equally far from being neutral? Does neutral mean something other than what I think it means?

post #2 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tsujigiri View Post

Why is it that when a pair of headphones has a slight treble emphasis it's still called neutral, but when it has a slight mids or bass emphasis, it's always labelled as colored? Wouldn't all three scenarios represent headphones that are equally far from being neutral? Does neutral mean something other than what I think it means?

Where did you read that from?

 

Here is my very subjective reasoning: 

From what I have understood treble region is what gives a track the so called "resolution" and "detailed", it is a quality that most analytical headphone tend to possess. I think when bass and mid range are 4 +db they will greatly change the music track whereas when when treble is 4+db the effect is not as much?!

 

post #3 of 6

Not colored, flat / linear signature.

post #4 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tsujigiri View Post

Why is it that when a pair of headphones has a slight treble emphasis it's still called neutral, but when it has a slight mids or bass emphasis, it's always labelled as colored? Wouldn't all three scenarios represent headphones that are equally far from being neutral? Does neutral mean something other than what I think it means?

 

Heya,

 

First, there's no such thing as an absolutely neutral/flat headphone. Doesn't exist. Not even the most expensive.

 

Some can come pretty close. But you will never buy a true neutral headphone. You can get very, very close with extensive equalization because you have to do it to your ear not just a microphone.

 

Neutral is like a weird audiophile holy grail. Lots of people seeking it.

 

And neutral is slung around left and right describing things but very, very loosely. You're right, people will say (and I'm guilty of it myself sometimes) a headphone is roughly neutral, and it's a gross average, instead of a matter of fact. A headphone that is not overly bass, or not overly bright/trebly with no bass, will generally be called closer to neutral, and therefore gets called neutral. I tend to call things a "warm neutral" if they're a little more bassy than straight neutral, and I'll add a bright neutral for something with a little more treble. But in general we are exaggerating and averaging something to a more simple terms for simplicity. We can't all say "less than neutral sub-bass, neutral mid-bass, less than neutral lower mids, neutral upper mids, higher than neutral lower treble, higher than neutral lower treble" to describe something. It would be exhausting. So we do what humans do... lazy it over to a single "neutral" title.

 

Very best,

post #5 of 6

When the range around 200 to 2000 Hz is relatively flat, people tend to find those phones neutral regardless of what's going on in the rest of the spectrum.

post #6 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tsujigiri View Post

Why is it that when a pair of headphones has a slight treble emphasis it's still called neutral, but when it has a slight mids or bass emphasis, it's always labelled as colored? Wouldn't all three scenarios represent headphones that are equally far from being neutral? Does neutral mean something other than what I think it means?

 

I have a different explanation than some others here: because some (if not most) people can't hear extreme high frequencies. And some have diminishing high frequency hearing, so the slight emphasis in treble may be noticeable to some, but completely non-existent for others.

 

Meanwhile, everyone can hear mid (unless they're deaf), and everyone can feel bass. Any slight emphasis in those regions would be immediately noticeable.

 

And then as MalveauX said, there is no such thing as absolute neutrality. Everyone hears things differently (as hinted above), so neutrality to one person may be completely different to neutrality for someone else.

 

Personally, I can't stand extreme treble emphasis, like what the DT880, or the HD800 do, so those headphones aren't neutral to me. But I know people who consider them neutral.

 

In this game, it's "to each his own".

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